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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 6 December 2018


NCA $4million trial should continue - Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an application by William Tetteh Tevie, one of the five accused persons in the $4-million National Communications Authority (NCA) case, which sought to halt the trial.

The case involves the alleged misappropriation of state funds by the accused during the purchase of listening devices for the National Security which was sponsored by the NCA.

Tevie, a former Director-General of the NCA, wanted the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings of the trial at the High Court until the final determination of his appeal challenging the trial court’s admission of a prosecution document into evidence.

But, in a ruling yesterday, a three-member panel of the second highest court of the land dismissed the application, on the basis that it presented no special circumstances that warranted a stay of proceedings of the trial.

The panel was presided over by Mr Justice P.K. Gyaesayor, with Ms Justice Avril Lovelace-Johnson and Mr Justice Tanko Amadu as members.

Why Tevie went to Court of Appeal

Per court documents, on October 30, 2018, the third prosecution witness, who works at the National Security, testified in camera at the trial about the existence of a certain letter in the books of the National Security.

Proof of the existence of the letter, the witness said, was in the Letter of Dispatch Book for the period January 7 to April 4, 2016.

The prosecution decided to tender the page in the dispatch book, which made reference to the letter in evidence.

But defence counsel objected and argued that the whole book must be tendered in evidence because other pages in the book could absolve their clients of any wrongdoing.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, however, overruled the objection and directed defence counsel to cross-examine the witness.

Not happy with the decision, Tevie’s legal team filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

In view of the appeal, the legal team further filed an application for stay of proceedings at the High Court, but Justice Baffour dismissed the application.

As a result, Tevie’s lawyers filed for stay of proceedings of the trial at the Court of Appeal.

With the application for stay of proceedings dismissed, the trial at the High Court will continue, while the Court of Appeal will also make a determination on the appeal.

Accused persons

Apart from Tevie, the other accused persons are Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, a former Board Chair of the NCA; Nana Owusu Ensaw, a former board member; Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, a former Deputy National Security Coordinator, and a businessman, George Derek Oppong.

The accused persons have been charged with diverse counts of wilfully causing financial loss of $4 million to the state, stealing, conspiracy, money laundering, among others.

They have denied the charges and are currently on bail in the sum of $1 million each.